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Let Your Employees Pick Their Titles

Have you ever met a general counsel who goes by "Juggler of Justice" or a CFO known as "Duke of Dollars?" Why not?
WHAT'S IN A NAME? Creativity, charm, and the ability to run a truly flat company, says Joe Reynolds.
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I cut my own hair and am comfortable wearing t-shirts to work. I also happen to be a CEO (but please never call me that).

Typically, CEOs wear fancy suits, answer to boards and act corporate. That's not who I am or who I aspire to be. I'm dead focused on building Red Frog Events in a way that aligns with our unique, casual culture, and that includes throwing egos and traditional job titles out the window.

Upon getting hired at Red Frog, our employees simply choose their title—most use alliteration and are descriptive of their personality or actual job. Our COO is the "Master of Monkey Business," our general counsel is the "Juggler of Justice," and our CFO is the "Captain of Currency." 

Drop your company's stale ego-massaging titles, and stop taking yourself so seriously.

Four reasons to ditch traditional titles:

  1. Creating unique titles breeds creativity. And that's one of our core values. By having innovative job titles, you're always setting the right tone and context.
  2. These titles are memorable. At a conference I'd be more curious and more apt to talk to a Duke of Dollars than a Vice President of Northern Operations.
  3. Creative titles promote flatness.  We have a very flat organization and shun the word "boss." Having self-made titles puts a new hire on a level playing field with everyone else.
  4. These names are just plain fun. Just the fact that your company has a Titan of Tomfoolery around will probably make you smile a little more. 

Now go rid your company of those boring titles and add a Keyboard Cowboy and Conquistador of Color. Not only will it be a fun new twist for your employees, but it might end up having an indirect positive impact on your bottom line, too.

A playful title structure also can give your office leaders a chance to show a different side of their personality. My first meeting with our architects had a lasting impact: As it turns out, I'm an architect, too: the Architect of Adventure.

IMAGE: iStock
Last updated: Dec 15, 2011

JOE REYNOLDS | Columnist | Founder, Red Frog Events

Joe Reynolds turned a $5,000 investment in an event production business called Red Frog into a thriving $45 million company in just four years. Red Frog Events was named the 2011 U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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